Nano Engineered Thermoelectric Systems (NETS)
for Lightweight Portable Primary/Secondary Power Sources

NETS (Nano Engineered Thermoelectric Systems) team members have been leading the scientific investigations on thermoelectrics (TEs) such as the development of the high ZTave materials with improved oxidation resistance and mechanical strength, reduction of the losses occurring at each stage of the generator assembly, control of the material and structural variables affecting efficiency, manufacturability of the devices, optimized heat sinks and thermal management schemes, durability, reducing the size and weight of the system, etc. Prior work by our team members have identified the key gaps in existing TE technology (beyond improved material and device ZT) that are major risks/obstacles to realizing the proposed generator concept. These include oxidation concerns, system integration issues resulting in thermal interface losses and thermal short-circuits of heat that bypasses the TE devices, and mechanical/structural strength and reliability of the TE devices. This program presents a three-pronged approach to maximizing overall generator system performance through (1) improved system integration and co-optimization of system and TE device, (2) improved device ZT ~ 2 through targeted internal loss reduction, close-packed devices, thermo-mechanical analysis and optimization, and cascaded devices for improved efficiency, and (3) a focus on three material systems for maximizing material ZT over a broad temperature range. This university – industry partnership brings together all the essential expertise required to address these challenges.

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In a recent paper published by Zhao et al. (Energy Harvesting and Systems 2015; 2(1-2): 55–62), a systematic study occurring in the microstructure and thermoelectric properties of PbTe0.9S0.1 alloy (PbTe–PbS) under varying thermal treatment conditions was reported. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) studies were utilized to reveal the distribution of nano-precipitates in the annealed alloy. PbTe0.9S0.1 […]

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As special double issue on thermoelectrics was published in the journal Energy Harvesting and Systems (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/ehs.2015.2.issue-1-2/issue-files/ehs.2015.2.issue-1-2.xml). This special double issue serves both to provide a simple entry point for the beginner in thermoelectrics and to present some actual developments at the cutting edge of multidisciplinary research. The thermoelectric energy harvester is powered by the flow […]

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